Turning Underperforming Employees into Great Ones


Every now and then, you may notice that one of the employees at your small business is not performing up to his or her usual standards. Before you start thinking about termination, there are definitely ways that you can motivate that employee to get back to providing a higher level of quality.

Here are some tips for turning an under-performing employee back into a great one:

1. Don't beat around the bush; address the problem when it arises.

The longer you wait to address the problem, the harder it will be to remedy it and the more likely it will spread to other people in the office, causing resentment or additional under-performance. Take action as soon as you realize there is a problem so that you can solve it before it festers.

2. Figure out why the employee is under-performing.

There are any number of reasons why an employee may be losing motivation with his or her work. Maybe they are simply a bad fit for the job, and lack the necessary skills to do well. Maybe there is some external factor that has the employee distracted. Perhaps the duties of the job aren't challenging enough for the employee. Whatever it is, it's important that you uncover the cause so that you can more effectively treat the problem.

3. Talk through the problem with the employee.

Be upfront with the employee; tell him or her that you believe there is a problem, and why their actions have an impact on the rest of the business. Emphasize that you would like to help them solve the problem. Give them a chance to brainstorm solutions to that problem, as well.

4. Coach the employee in ways to improve his or her performance.

Come up with specific goals and improvements, and monitor the progress on those goals. Be sure to follow up with the employee consistently so that they know you are invested in helping them achieve these goals and improve their performance.

5. If all else fails, take action.

If there are no improvements after you have taken all of these steps, you need to be more firm with your approach to the issue. Explain the consequences of the employee's under-performance. Be careful in your consideration of potential disciplinary action; while occasionally you will have no choice but to fire an employee, realize that action has an impact on the rest of your business.


infusionsoft certified consultant



Thomas von Ahn | Chief Elephant Slayer | Viral Solutions LLC
thomas von ahn

Watch out elephants! This slayer of business challenges comes with 30 years of record breaking sales, marketing, operations, training and leadership experience . He has worked face-to-face with 100’s of small business owners as well as large firms. His love of creating, communicating, developing and executing results for clients shines with each project, publication and training event. His entrepreneurial spirit, passion, industry experience, education, problem-solving prowess, charismatic personality and been-there-done that attitude leads his client focused approach.



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About Thomas von Ahn

With more than 30 years of experience in B2B sales across various industries, Thomas has unique insight into both the offline and online sales sphere. It was during his time in the trenches that Thomas noticed a recurring theme: Though business owners are knowledgeable about their craft or trade, they often struggle to market and sell to their prospects. This realization is what prompted Thomas and his now business partner, Christine, to bring Viral Solutions to life. Since starting the company, Thomas has been able to assist countless business owners in developing a solid marketing plan based upon sound marketing strategy, then assigning the marketing tactics to a team of talented employees, and, finally, watching those actions unfold—his true passion.

Though Viral Solutions is on Thomas’ mind 24/7, he does occasionally take a break to cheer on the Green Bay Packers and enjoy his adopted home of Wisconsin. Much of his family also works at Viral Solutions, and this closeness with family and employees is the cornerstone of the Viral Solutions culture.